As many in the Blackfive orbit know, September 30th was "Gold Star Mother's Day". And, like many of you, I saw this pic of a Gold Star Mom memorial and found it touching and poignant.
When looking up where this memorial is (and I didn't find out - some help appreciated), I came across this blog "A Gold Star Dad". Steven Phillips, who lost his son Army SPC Michael Phillips assigned to 1/502d Infantry (101st Abn Div -AASLT), on Feb 24, 2008.
Back in May of 2012 typed some thoughts that I think need re-airing here. (The link is here: The Fallen Have Families Too)
He gives a nice summation of the memorial above:
The monument has a mother (obviously) sitting in a chair at what depicts to me the funeral of her child. She is all alone clutching onto the folded flag with a look on her face that tells the story of her loss. The monument really hurts me to look at it as it could BE modeled after my wife. The crushed look is something that I don’t really want to be memorialized. That moment of the folded flag is one that I see in nightmares.. not memorials.
However, it was the rest of the post that caused me to pause and say, "yeah..that's really true." It struck me that in this era of fairness, feminism, the quest for equal treatment and all the rest, we still as a society give significant deference to mothers when it comes to death in general and wartime deaths in particular.
I found the perspective illuminating and a necessary reminder that whole families are affected when a Servicemember falls. Those that know this pain can relate. I do not, but this gave me a better perspective.
Cutting out segments doesn't do justice, so I posted a large chunk here:
I understand that this is not true nor do the mothers even have some sort of weird cabal that has made this the fact that it is. This is another one of those old society hold backs where men do not cry and children are to be seen and not heard. I covered my feelings on this a while back on another blog that I wrote. Mothers lose their babies. I understand that there is a special bond between mothers and their children. I get it! What I do not understand is why there is supposedly less a bond between fathers and their sons and the bonds of siblings?
We all got the news that day that Micheal was never coming home. We ALL received the news, we ALL lost Micheal and we all will never be able to change that fact. We all held Micheal in our hearts and lives in a different way. We all knew the same Micheal, but we all knew him differently. To say that any of us missed him more is just unfair and one of the most unjust parts of this whole thing. I hope that this doesn’t come off as me being a big jerk, but after the last few years, I’ve kind of stopped caring what some people think of me.
For the record, I do not believe that Gold Star Mother should be promoted as a single entity anymore. It’s as old-fashioned and as wrong as thinking that only men are out there in the world fighting in our wars. The flag was folded and the General approached and handed the flag to my wife, spoke to her and them moved away, I had to stand there and watch as people.. complete strangers waded in to pay their respects on one single person, an overwhelmed and mentally and emotionally drained woman… my wife. I was trampled on their fervor to pay respects to my wife.
I had my family there together yet no one really seemed to notice, My next oldest son who had lost his brother and best friend, My daughter who lost more than that and the same, and a little brother who will never really understand. The day was one of the longest in my life and I will never refer to a gold star in any way differently due to their pecking order in their lost loved one’s life. I think it’s a shame that there are anything but gold star families.. My son and all of the fallen have Gold Star Families.
For those who understand, Thank you.. for those who do not and want to get mad at me.. that’s fine too.